We want to be a hub in the multi-cloud world: Veeam Software co-founder

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on May 31, 2017

RATMIR TIMASHEV, Co-founder, Veeam Software

Russian-born IT entrepreneur and investor Ratmir Timashev is the co-founder and director of Switzerland-headquartered cloud computing firm Veeam Software, a pioneer in virtualisation and back-up business. BusinessLine caught up with Timashev on the sidelines of the recently-held VeeamOn cloud computing conference in New Orleans. Excerpts from the interview:

What prompted you to get into cloud at a time it was an idea in the air, literally and figuratively?

In the 1990s, with a partner, I had built a business around Windows Enterprise Management. It was our first business. I was a graduate student then. We had different tools to manage the Windows part of your infrastructure and we sold the business to Quest Software, which was one of our competitors. Then it became part of Dell. In 2005, I left Quest and started looking around. And I realised that VMware is going to be the next big thing. Our first company was built on Windows servers. Microsoft had released its Windows servers platform in 1995-96 and as it grew, the need for our tools also grew. So we rode the wave of Windows server platform.

So now we had realised that with VMware being the next big thing, the need for protection/security was always going to be in demand. We actually started developing some tools for VMware management. But back-up wasn’t our first product. Our first product was monitoring, and then we released configuration management products, and then we released back-up in 2008. It was very successful, so we decided to focus on it.

But was it easy convincing people to move from the so-called legacy back-up storage to cloud?

Our space, data protection and backup, is very crowded and there are big companies such as Veritas, IBM, EMC and so on, but now we are the leader in this space. This leadership didn’t come easy. Initially, we had to convince people that we have a totally different approach for data protection in the new modern data centre, and which 10 years ago was based on virtualisation. The amount of data was growing 30 per cent a year. Now, the amount of data is almost 100 times larger than what it used to be then and the requirements to recover the data is also 100 times more now. But these big companies cannot meet the requirements in data protection with traditional methods. That is why we grew so fast. Because we used a new approach for VMware Hyper-V.

Now, 10 years later, we are at the cloud. Cloud is now where virtualisation was 10 years ago. It is a new wave from virtualisation to multi-cloud. And we are extremely well positioned to dominate this world because cloud is based on virtualisation. People understand that.

Where do you see Veeam 10 years later?

Ten years is a lot of time in this business. In the next five years, we expect a lot of changes. We definitely want to be a hub in the multi-cloud world that controls, manages and protects and uses data for business benefits. To make sure that it is always available, and to make use of the data for other business purposes.

In markets like India, SMEs form a big part of the business universe. Do you have any specific strategies for such markets?

For any market, we have our own approach depending on the specifics of the market. We focus on the channel partners, resellers and service providers. We have a special package that is designed for SMEs, which is low-priced. It is called Veeam Backup Essentials. It is two times less expensive than our regular package. But it is limited for the size of the environment.

Of course, we try to understand the need of SMEs. SMEs are channel-driven, market-driven. So always try to build a relationship with this market through social media and local bloggers and thought leaders. We have different strategy for SME and then enterprise. We approach them differently. We have a new country manager in India. When you enter a new market you obviously make a few mistakes. We made them too. But now our new team is doing great there.

You mentioned Veeam would focus more on acquisitions. Any leads?

We are constantly looking for more capabilities and integration. We are looking at how things will span around cloud management and cloud data management. So in these areas we’re looking for more partners. We don’t believe in directly acquiring companies. We like to form a partnership with companies first and then invest or buy them. For us that’s the best strategy.

Back-up and protection is your core area. But your new President and co-CEO Peter McKay is not a back-up guy. What prompted you to bring him on board?

Yes, he is not from the back-up industry. One of his companies was into security and another one was into virtualisation. He sold his first company to IBM and second to VMware. For us, what was important was he has a track record of success in taking something small and growing it into something big, while also navigating a tough political environment or human challenges, and he has done it several times.

As he comes from VMware he understands the channel partners and alliance partners that VMware had. Next, he understands the modern data centre ecosystem and the virtualisation market. This understanding was more important than understanding the back-up market.

The writer was in New Orleans at the invitation of Veeam Software

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Published on May 31, 2017
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